According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, nearly one in 50 people are living with paralysis, and until now, there wasn’t much hope. However, a new study involving stem cells has doctors and patients excited as stem cells could offer hope for people who can’t walk.
Two years ago, Brenda Guerra’s life changed forever when she was in a car accident. “They told me that I went into a ditch and was ejected out of the vehicle,” recalled Brenda. The accident left the 26 year old paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair.
Brenda said, “I don’t feel any of my lower body at all.” Brenda has traveled from Kansas to University of California San Diego to be the first patient to participate in a ground-breaking safety trial, testing stem cells for paralysis.
“We are directly injecting the stem cells into the spine,” explained Dr. Joseph D. Ciacci, a Neurosurgeon at UCSD Health System. “The stem cells come from fetal spinal cords. The idea is when they’re transplanted they will develop into new neurons and bridge the gap created by the injury by replacing severed or lost nerve connections. They did that in animals and doctors are hoping for similar results in humans.”
The ultimate goal is to help people like Brenda walk again. Read the full article here.